Islington council is asking residents in a referendum if they would like to see different levels of parking charges according to the engine size of their cars.
Currently, the council charges £95 a year for a parking permit, with a rebate of £20 for those who drive cars with engines of 1.4l or less, or electric or hybrid vehicles. Under the new proposals, residents who want to buy a parking permit for a large-engined vehicle could be faced with a fee of £190.
'The reality is whatever car you drive is polluting the environment', Council leader James Kempton told the BBC. 'We want to encourage people to choose less polluting cars'.
'Two thirds of people in Islington will pay less if they vote 'yes' to this scheme', he added.
The proposals are modelled on a system to be introduced by Richmond Council, which will see 4x4 owners pay £750 a year for a parking permit, as opposed to £200 at the current rate.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist June 2007